A wise man once said*, “If you have them in the first fifteen minutes, you have a movie. If you have them in the last fifteen minutes, you have a hit.” By that metric, Oliver Stone‘s Savages is neither a movie nor a hit. It begins with an atrocious first act full of flat expository narration including one of the worst lines of dialogue I’ve ever heard: “I have orgasms. He has wargasms.” That’s a deep hole to dig out of, but Savages manages to do so with a strong, thoughtful, exciting middle section that explore where people derive their power. And then the movie falls apart with an ending that erases all the hard work the film had accomplished.
Warner Bros. has picked up the rights to Don Winslow’s bestselling novel Satori with Leonardo DiCaprio set to star. The thriller, set in post-WWII Japan, centers on a Westerner who is raised in Japan and taught assassin’s skills. As a young man, he is tasked with assassinating a Soviet commissioner in China, a mission that’s more than likely suicidal. Deadline reports that DiCaprio’s Appian Way production banner will take on producing duties alongside Grisdi Productions, and Warner Bros. hopes to have a Jason Bourne-style franchise on their hands. This is the second Winslow novel to be adapted for the big screen, as Oliver Stone’s adaptation of Savages is set for release next year with Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, John Travolta, and Benicio del Toro starring.
DiCaprio will next be seen in Clint Eastwood’s biopic J. Edgar. The actor is currently filming The Great Gatsby in Australia, then he’ll move onto his villainous role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
We heard last week Blake Lively was the frontrunner to play Ophelia in Oliver Stone’s adaptation of Savages, though for scheduling she had to choose between Savages and Oz: The Great and Powerful. It seems Disney must look elsewhere for a Glinda the Good Witch, because Lively has signed on to Savages. Additionally, John Travolta and Uma Thurman have joined a cast that is blossoming terrifically. Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek, and Benicio Del Toro have long eyed roles in the film; Deadline writes confidently tonight that all four are on board.
Shane Salerno adapted the screenplay with Savages author Don Winslow. The story centers a pair of marijuana growers (Kitsch and Johnson) who get into trouble with a Mexican drug cartel. Read the full synopsis after the jump.
After winning a bidding war with two other unnamed studios, Universal Pictures has landed domestic distribution rights to Oliver Stone’s adaptation of the Don Winslow novel Savages. Slated to begin shooting this June, Savages casting is still a bit of an open book as Aaron Johnson, Benicio del Toro, and Taylor Kitsch have all been offered roles in the film but are still in negotiations. Stone’s female lead is currently vacant as well with Jennifer Lawrence having to end talks after being cast in Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games.
According to Variety, both Blake Lively and Teresa Palmer have read for the part and join Olivia Wilde as potential candidates to make a turn as “O.” In Winslow’s novel, “O” is a “free-spirited friend” of Laguna Beach pot dealers, Ben and Chon. As the story goes, the dealers’ life of stoned luxury takes an unexpected turn when the Baja drug cartel kidnaps “O” in an attempt to coerce the pair to sell their product through them. For more on the project, hit the jump to check out a synopsis for Winslow’s novel.
We heard earlier in the week Aaron Johnson (Kick Ass) was offered the role of Ben in Oliver Stone’s adaptation of Savages. Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) is now in talks to play Chon, who grows marijuana with Ben in Laguna Beach in the novel by Don Winslow. The story centers around the boys’ struggle with a Mexican drug cartel that tries to muscle in on Ben and Chon’s business, even kidnapping their “beautiful young playmate and accomplice” Ophelia. Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) was in talks to play Ophelia, but had to drop out due to her commitment to The Hunger Games. Deadline indicates that Stone is looking at Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy) and other unspecified candidates similar to Ms. Wilde for the role. Likewise, Stone is talking to Salma Hayek to play the cartel matriarch, “an iron-fisted beauty who becomes intrigued and practically maternal over the kidnapped [Ophelia].”
Universal Pictures is reportedly the frontrunner among three studios to land the distribution deal for Savages. Filming is scheduled to begin in June. Read the book synopsis after the break.
by Jason Barr Posted: February 10th, 2011 at 4:23 pm
Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) is in talks to star in Oliver Stone’s adaptation of the Don Winslow novel Savages. If the deal comes through, Lawrence would play the role of “O,” the double-duty girlfriend of buddy pot growers Ben and Chon. For those unaware, Winslow’s Savages focuses on the aforementioned Ben and Chon as they attempt to quietly enjoy the fruits of their weed labors in Laguna Beach. The Savages screenplay was penned by Winslow alongside Shane Salerno (CBS’ Hawaii Five-O and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem) who is also acting as executive producer on the project alongside Stone and Moritz Borman.
While the roles of Ben and Chon have yet to be cast, Deadline reports that actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Aaron Johnson, Tom Hardy, Garret Hedlund, and James Franco have all met with Stone regarding the characters. With Stone expected to begin shooting Savages this June, we may be hearing more news on the casting front sooner rather than later. For more on the project, hit the jump to check out a synopsis for Winslow’s novel.
Director Oliver Stone has signed on to direct Don Winslow’s upcoming novel Savages, which is about:
Two pals from Laguna Beach pals share the same girlfriend and a thriving business growing and distributing the best-quality pot on the planet. When they resist being muscled by a Mexican drug cartel, the girl is kidnapped and the ransom is every cent they’ve made for the last five years. They agree to pay but hatch an alternate plan to get her back, get revenge, and then get lost.
While Stone has been ripping his previous movies from headlines, Savages sounds like it could be a slick, fun action film. I just don’t want to see yet another movie where Stone comments on recent events without giving them enough distance to explore their lasting ramifications. His previous film, W., isn’t bad, but it feels rushed and I fear that Stone’s upcoming Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps will be a commentary on current events first and a good story second. Hopefully, Savages caught his attention because he likes the story and not just the opportunity to explore the drug trade in North America. [Deadline]